Saturday, July 30, 2011

24th July 2011: Fraser's Hill to Kuala Kubu Bharu

As this was my last morning, I decided to start at the top for a change and wait for the Malaysian Whistling-thrush.

My efforts from before dawn till about 8 o'clock yielded neither sight nor sound of them. This Rufous-browed Flycatcher was typically obliging in the early morning light.

As I was packing up my hide, I noticed a young Siamang feeding quietly right next to the road. Since this species is usually extremely shy, I could barely believe my luck as I stealthily reset up my camera and crept closer. A man was walking down the road so I beckoned him over, urging him to be completely quiet. "Oh", he said in an unnecessarily loud voice, I thought, "That's Bobby - he likes candy very much!" The man held out a sticky sweet and rustled the wrapper, and sure enough, this shy denizen of the forest came down and took the sweet from his hand! My sense of disappointment was palpable, and I was also left feeling pretty foolish with my stealth approach! It turns out that this is an orphan, and it was either raised, or at least fed, one of the guards at the Top Gate, so it is semi-domesticated.

Of course, it would be nice if folks could be educated not to feed it junk food, but it's still a very fine looking beast, and will hopefully provide visitors with the thrill of seeing a 'wild' Siamang at close quarters for many years to come. Actually, I think that hairstyle might really catch on...!

Down at the Gap, I had to wade my way through the Bamboo Woodpecker hordes once again, and as before, they evaded my attempts at getting a clear shot.

On my way back to civilization, I couldn't resist stopping at the swift bridge again. The light was less favourable than last time, and I only got this head-on House Swift.

Rufous-bellied Swallows were in hunting mode (I noticed 2-3 nests beneath the bridge) and provided me with some good photo opps as they glided around.

Very fine-looking creatures indeed, and a near-endemic taxon into the bargain!

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